noun: plebiscite; plural noun: plebiscites
the direct vote of all the members of an electorate on an important public question such as a change in the constitution.
“the administration will hold a plebiscite for the approval of constitutional reforms”
synonyms: vote, referendum, ballot, poll
“a plebiscite for the approval of constitutional reforms”
a law enacted by the plebeians’ assembly.
Australia is moving backwards at the speed of light! I have always been proud to be a member of society in a country that used to be progressive, fair-minded, and – to a large extent – liberal (not in the political party sense of the word) in its attitudes! But the current path we are heading down has me throwing my hands in the air.
GLBT members of this society have had to sit on their hands over the last few years as country after country – some leaning towards the conservative sude of things – has passed marriage equality legislation. Even our “other state” over the ditch (New Zealand for our overseas readers), who can be more British than the Brits, have marriage equality.
There was a time when we would have been at the forefront with this move towards equality for all…but apparently no more. The move to have a plebiscite to change the definition of marriage – how marriage ever became a government defined societal act in the first place is something I’m not going into – was mooted originally by our ultra-conservative, Catholic now-ex-PM Tony Abbott, as a way of avouding the issue from a parliamentary perspective, and seeming to allow the “Australian people” to have a say in things – despite polls over the years showing a steadily increasing percentage of the population being in favour of marriage equality. Go figure!
A vote for marriage equality could be done thus week by a vote in parliament. Yes, they do have that power! Instead, PM Malcolm aTurnbull – who is personally in favour of msrriage equality – has decided to not stick by his guns, nor show the guts needed to tell his party to show some gumption by voting on the issue, but going forward with this plebuscite that is going to cost the aAustralian taxpayers around $160+ million. And this from a government facing the largest budget deficit ever seen in this countries history! To make it even worse, they are oroviding funding to both the Yes and No sides of the argument!
So, what will the plebiscite give us that a vote in parliament won’t? In a word – nothing! It will happen, the conservatives will be left wringing their hands while the najority of us celebrate. It is the process of a plebiscite that is the problem! The government throwing some funding their way must have groups like the Australian Christian Lobby rubbing their hands with glee as they plot and plan their campaign of lies,misinformation, diversions and fear! Society will implode, the hand of god will strike us all down, and life as we know it will never be the same again! What a crock of shit! The proponents of hate-speech – invluding some of our conservative politicians and independents – are going to have a field day! Yeah, sure, the government has said that anti-discrimination legislation will still apply as a condition of the funding…but that does not stop what will be preached from pulpits (under the guide of biblical sermons), or is said in private, or behind the closed doors of meetings (redacted minutes?)! Nor will it stop the crackpots who just don’t care who they hurt pr traumatise! It is a prescription for hate!
I’m an old hand when it comes to bullying and nane-calling as a nember of the LGBT community. It is like water off a ducks back! But not all are as tough! There are those poised on the sidelines, waiting for that magic moment amongst all their sexual confusion when the light comes on, they have that instant courage, and come out. They will be watching this shit-fight going on around them! They will see the hate, the lies, the true characters of those who think that they have rights that others shouldn’t have! And they will stop, and wonder…is this what I want to find if I come out! I fear – and bleed – for them!
What is it with this country that we always choose – or rather our politicians choose – the wrong way to approach things that can gring about great change in our society! We had it with the Republican referendum in 1999, when nany of us wanted a Republic, but were forced to vote against it due to the question containing the condition that the President would be voted in by parliament, rather than by the people! Needless to say, it failed. Now we have a similar issue with the plebiscite. It has become such a contentious issue that the opposition will more than likely vote against it, and as much as I hate to say this about anything that can bring about change – I hope the plebiscite doesn’t go ahead. It is time for our government to take some responsibility, and be arbiters of change, rather than “throwing blame” back onto the voting punlic, and allowing the advocates of hate, prejudice, intolerance and stigma to have their moment in the spotlight. Their insistence – against all reason – to tow the party line is not only putting them out of touch, but displays a crack within their own party that reeks of intolerance and hate!
I do not want marriage equality for myself. I am more than happy to live in sin. But I do want it for those who want it. Like everything else in society, they have a right to choice, a right to love their partner as they see fit. And no one has the right to deprive them of that. Society will not implode, the planet will not stop turning, lightening will not flow from heaven haling in the apocalypse! NOTHING will change! In 2004, PM John Howard used parliamentary vote to add the common law definition of marriage (that it is between a man and a woman) to the marriage act. If a vote of this nature can be used to change the definition of the act once, it can be used to change it again!
The plebiscite, I think, will fail! The wait goes on! Change WILL come! Hate will never win out against tolerance and love! EVER!
Tim Alderman (C 2016)